Polska pomoc


Independence IV. Develop a system of typhlorehabilitation. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia.

Blind people in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are in a difficult situation, and the prolonged social and economic crisis exacerbates the problems of exclusion and lack of fundamental rehabilitation, social, and legal assistance to disabled people. There are no systemic measures in place addressed to disabled people; their plight is not met with interest and the expertise is lacking on how to help them.

People with visual impairments used to be employed by companies that acted as centres of social life and offered limited forms of therapy. Today these companies have gone bankrupt. The authorities are still unable to build and maintain a system that would help blind people to cope with such basic issues as health, rehabilitation, education or becoming self-reliant. The countries do not use most of the simple solutions that are common in Poland, such as the white cane to move around, signage in public areas, early therapy, and guide dogs. Access to information technologies, methodological support or specialist knowledge is practically impossible. None of the three countries has a programme for teaching Braille; teachers are not prepared for vision rehabilitation (except for one blind teacher in Georgia who works with children). The exact number of blind people is unknown; what we have are only estimates: 14,000 in Georgia, 9,000 in Armenia, and 20,000 in Azerbaijan, including large numbers of war invalids.

Independence IV. Develop a system of typhlorehabilitation. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia.

Carried out from 1 March to 31 December 2013, the project was a continuation of support for blind people in Georgia and Armenia. In 2011-12, over 60 people received training in the theory and practice of blind therapy, 8 people qualified as second-degree spatial orientation instructors (white cane and unassisted functioning), and 18 people qualified as first-degree instructors.

2012 saw two upskilling courses in Poland, two training sessions on therapy dogs and hippotherapy in Georgia, courses for blind education specialists (graphics and audio), and 30 hours of blind education lectures at Ilia University in Tbilisi. Moreover, the project provided rehabilitation equipment, 1,500 copies of textbooks and educational materials for children, as well as signs for people with visual impairments in Caritas Georgia, metro stations, and a school for blind children in Tbilisi.

As part of the “Independence 4” project, another group of blind people were trained to handle everyday activities and communication. Training sessions on therapy dogs and hippotherapy were also organized for spatial orientation instructors and blind people’s therapists. Moreover, educational materials for blind students were prepared, and rehabilitation equipment (including white canes) and textbooks for blind people were purchased. At the same time, the marking of facilities was continued in Georgia and Yerevan to meet the needs of blind and partially sighted people. The measures have helped empower blind people.